One of the major roadblocks to achieving adequate testing for software applications is the huge investment required for testing an app in real world conditions. While the right test coverage can help identify defects and give true product insights, inadequate coverage can lead to poor feedback and increase the risks of costly software errors. As development models move towards an agile environment where releases are faster, the strain on in-house QA team increases. Overstraining testing staff with sudden testing needs to keep in line with tight release plans increases the risk of undetected bugs.
Difference Between Crowd Testing & In-House QA
Companies are shifting from a traditional lab based testing strategy to a more comprehensive testing model that encompasses real world testing. Crowd testing supplements In-house QA efforts to achieve adequate test coverage. Both in-house QA teams & crowd testers play a crucial role in the modern testing strategy. Here is a comparison that highlights the key pros & cons of in-house QA teams & crowd testers:
1) Accountability & Diversity
Having direct accountability makes it easier to train and guide full time software testing teams. However, an in-house QA staff trained & managed by the same manager, working in the same lab are more likely to find similar issues on a software. With crowd testing, you can assign testers from different locations and demographics to work in different test environments. This helps in testing the product in a real world scenario, making it easier to find the bugs that users operating the app are likely to find. This enables product teams to make additional improvements that enriches the product quality.
2) System Knowledge & Perspectives
The biggest merit of having an in-house QA team working internally is the system knowledge they have which makes it easier for them to know the application inside-out. However, relying solely on an internal QA team makes it difficult to get a fresh perspective about the product. They are more likely to uncover issues found by power users than first time users of the product. In case of user centric apps, an end user perspective can help product managers greatly in improving app features in line with the customer expectations. Crowd testers can bring in the fresh insights that may have been missed out by the internal product teams. They can find out issues that first time users of the product will face. The additional crowd sourced QA check can greatly improve a product’s functionality & usability.
3) Proximity & Scalability
Having a reliable full time staff makes it easy for developers to build relationships and communicate faster with QA teams. This makes communication & bug fixes easier within the team. However, it is difficult to scale your testing efforts with limited In-house QA resources especially when the releases are faster. Crowd testing can give product managers the flexibility to meet peak season needs without huge investments in devices or full time hires. Further, you can test multiple apps with a scalable crowd testing testing team.
4) Lab Testing Vs Real World Testing
In-house testing involves the use of emulators and in-house devices for creating a test environment. It is not possible to procure all the devices & create the fluctuation conditions that exist in the real world inside a lab. Critical issues that arise in real world scenarios can be found and fixed with crowd testing. By relying on crowd testers, you can test your application in various real world scenarios with different combinations of devices, operating systems and software versions.
5) Cost & Time
In-house QA resources incur additional over head costs, expenses for procuring devices and training. Depending solely on a full-time staff to meet short development sprints can put considerable strain on your finances & existing QA team. Further, finding & recruiting the right talent in a short period of time is hard. With crowd sourcing, product managers can get the help of testing experts in the respective domain to test their applications. Additionally, you can run shorter test cycles with an on-demand QA team powered by crowd. This will help product managers to align their testing efforts with their development goals without straining existing QA teams or overshooting their testing budget.
While crowd testing can never replace an internal QA team, it definitely supplements the efforts of an In-house QA team. A testing strategy that encompasses the inputs of the In-house QA & the real world insights of crowd testing gives product managers a bird’s eye view of their software, making it easy to access & fix risks in time.
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